Iowa agriculture is responsible for a direct economic output of $88.3 billion and more than 315,000 jobs contributing $17.57 billion in wages, according to the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report. 

This report, commissioned by 30 food and agricultural groups, highlights the total impact of agriculture from the farm through the supply chain. 

“When we think about Iowa farming—we often think about the farmer,” says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Brent Johnson. “But especially during Ag Week, we want to highlight the many essential people who help get a crop from the ground and into your fuel tank, local grocery store or everyday products we don’t consider that have an ag tie. From truckers and manufacturers to food safety workers and retail chain employees, Iowa agriculture would not be as strong as it is without everyone working together.”  

To measure the total economic impact of these supporting industries, the analysis also includes upstream and downstream activity related to Iowa agriculture. For example, when a farm equipment retailer hires new employees because farmers are buying more tractors, experts consider the new salaries an indirect impact. Similarly, when a retail associate spends her paycheck, an induced economic impact occurs. Together, these have a multiplier effect on the already formidable direct impact of food and agriculture.

When these factors are considered, Iowa agriculture supports 801,000 jobs and a $204 billion economic output. Iowa agriculture also has an export value of $6.56 billion. 

“Iowa is a vital production center in the nation. Trade provides additional positive impacts for Iowa beyond the animal or crop-based products for which our state is well-known,” says Dr. Sam Funk, IFBF’s senior economist. “The exports of farm machinery and technical services to meet the needs of people around the world is another glimpse at the support agriculture provides for the economy here in Iowa and everywhere.”

Visit to view the entire report.

Learn more about author Caitlyn Lamm here.

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